Looking for ways to engage young people with live music during the pandemic, Live Music Now and partner organisation Improving Me – The Cheshire and Merseyside Women and Children’s NHS Partnership – launched Including Me, a music programme aimed at families with children experiencing a challenging time during the pandemic, due to lack of social interaction, family circumstances or their additional needs not being met.
Including Me pairs a musician with a young person and their family for ten sessions, during which they explore musical performance, instruments, song-writing and improvisation. Musicians receive ongoing training in how best to transfer their work online while ensuring sessions remain engaging and interactive. Using a suite of apps to promote participation and inclusion, families and musicians compose songs together in sessions created for and led by the young people at the centre of the work.
Though developed in response to the Covid pandemic, the project has already proven to be an incredible success in a social prescribing context by supporting families’ mental health and wellbeing. Feedback from parents, young people and musicians involved captures the fun and sense of achievement children feel from taking part in sessions, boosting their confidence and self esteem. Including Me will now continue to exist alongside our in-person concerts and residencies as a fixed offering by Live Music Now.